“Social media are a trap”

Zygmunt Bauman, a polish sociologist, discusses democracy and social media in an interview following his 90th birthday that mirrors many points that Turkle raises in our reading “Flight From Conversation”, such as social media being a crutch for conversation. Although, Bauman adds an interesting argument that one is apart of a community in society but on social media the community belongs to you—being able to add or delete people at whim. Bauman suggests that social media is a comfort zone that is populated almost entirely of people with the same world views, removing controversial conversations that are integral to developing social skills.

The article can be found by the link below,

http://elpais.com/elpais/2016/01/19/inenglish/1453208692_424660.html?utm_content=buffer1a8a2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Advertisements

2 thoughts on ““Social media are a trap”

  1. This is a lovely little interview with Bauman, one of the most thoughtful sociologists alive today. Here’s the relevant bit that James is referring to:

    “What the social networks can create is a substitute. The difference between a community and a network is that you belong to a community, but a network belongs to you. You feel in control. You can add friends if you wish, you can delete them if you wish. You are in control of the important people to whom you relate. People feel a little better as a result, because loneliness, abandonment, is the great fear in our individualist age. But it’s so easy to add or remove friends on the internet that people fail to learn the real social skills, which you need when you go to the street, when you go to your workplace, where you find lots of people who you need to enter into sensible interaction with.”

    Like

  2. Interesting article. Zygmunt Bauman has presented a lot of interesting points in the article. One that really stood out to me was this:

    “People feel a little better as a result, because loneliness, abandonment, is the great fear in our individualist age. But it’s so easy to add or remove friends on the internet that people fail to learn the real social skills, which you need when you go to the street, when you go to your workplace, where you find lots of people who you need to enter into sensible interaction with.”

    I think it’s interesting and ironic that, “loneliness [and] abandonment, is the greatest fear in our individualistic age” when you would assume that people would be more comfortable with being alone, as they don’t interact, and learn “real social skills”.

    However, I think there are some conflicting points in the article. Bauman mentions that, “Conflict… [is] between each person and society”, but at the same time he states that, “you have to create your own community”. If one can create their own community (Bauman’s definition of a network), why would there be conflict between an individual and society? Couldn’t the individual create their own society? He also mentions that, “People join the societies to which they are loyal and pay their taxes”. But this conflicts with his idea of the creation of a network. How can you “feel in control.. add friends if you wish… delete them if you wish… [be] in control of the important people to whom you relate”, when you join a preset society?

    I also don’t completely agree with his belief that in social media, “You feel in control. You can add friends if you wish, you can delete them if you wish. You are in control of the important people to whom you relate.”. Many people feel pressured to “add” people on social media platforms because rejection means that you feel that person is not worth associating with. Rejection on social media platforms is almost synonymous with going to someone and saying, “I don’t want to associate with you”, and you would have to have a compelling reason to reject their request. Deleting people from social media works on a similar principle. You basically reject their friendship, and wish not to associate with them.Yes, you are always in control of your account, but there are social consequences with rejection online, and I think Bauman fails to realize how that affects “control”.

    “deleting people from social media has become nearly equivalent to completely eradicating them from your life.”
    http://elitedaily.com/life/what-deleting-a-person-from-social-media-really-means/ (there are some interesting points on deleting someone on social media in this article).

    Furthermore, I don’t completely agree with his statement on identity and community. Bauman states: “The question of identity has changed from being something you are born with to a task: you have to create your own community. But communities aren’t created, and you either have one or you don’t. ” I think there are still preset communities you are born into. You are born into a particular family, born into a certain culture, and the location you are born will also have a hand in shaping the communities you associate with in the future. Yes, you have control of who you associate with, but there are also preset communities. I think the idea of community continues in the online community. You associate with people who are in the same communities as you (i.e. family, friends you have grown up with, colleagues), whether you are born into them or have joined them later in life. In a sense, you “belong to a [certain online] community” in social media.

    As a whole, it was a very interesting article. It has a unique perspective on the interplay between networks, community and social media.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s